11 March 2013

Parents of Preemies Day

parents of preemies day, day for preemie parents, recognizing nicu moms, why is it different to parent a preemie, premature babies and parents
Parents of Preemie Day with my son.

Tristan had a pretty rocking Parents of Preemies Day with Mamma and Papa. He spent the morning having dude time. He gave Brandon one of his first kisses, said "love...you!" to him, and they played dinosaurs and drank shakes.

Thanks to the time change I was able to take him to the park after nap for Mommy & Me time. He held my hand, chased a hipster with a funny hat (it's OK the guy was playing with him but Tristan looked SO SERIOUS!), and we did laps and more laps. We stopped to watch the hoopers a little bit since mine and his (!!!) are on their way; they should be here this week! Excitement.

While he was sleeping I attended my first ever Twitter chat - I'm so new to Twitter I need a Dummies book. Well, it was for #parentsofpreemiesday and hosted by the amazing Graham's Foundation.

During the chat one of the hosts brought up the different challenges a preemie parent faces and the need for support. I haven't shared this yet but there have been some comments made by people who know me in real life wondering why I'm so hung up on this 'preemie thing.'

There are a couple answers to that. First, I have moved on. I am a toddler mom now, but our story will always begin with NICU in a way that is so far out of your comprehension I understand why you don't get it. Please never mistake my advocacy as being 'stuck.'

When I say I only knew preemies were a Cabbage Patch Doll, I'm not kidding. There was a friend of Brandon's who reached out to me after the fire who had a preemie. Then she was there for me when I had Tristan. Even though she lives across the country she immediately contacted me. She knew what I was about to go through and that others in my world wouldn't get it.

Preemie parents need other preemie parents. It's important that veteran moms (and dads) stick around to share their stories and give back to the community. Others did it for us - we'll do it for more - and so it will continue. It's also important that people without children and those who had full term babies to learn, too, because chances are someone you know will have a premature baby.

The babies steal the show with their teeeeny tiny diapers, cute itsy bitsy hats, tanning beds and shades, and pouty lips. They are miracles without a doubt and fully deserve to shine in their spotlight.

However, there is a lot to be said for parents of preemies. We are thrust into a world we never imagined and start cheering over grams and beeping and alarms become the soundtrack of our lives. Moms struggle with pumps. Outcomes aren't always positive. The photographs you see of us are often filled with joy and bright smiles because we're elated to spend time with our babies. The tears that fall as we walk away and go home alone aren't pictured.

I'm so thankful Graham's Foundation put together a day to celebrate parents. It reminds us of the strength it took to make it through - and the strength it continues to take to be an advocate. It isn't easy to share and re-share; to open our hearts...but it's needed.

To preemie parents everywhere: you're amazing.


  1. I have really enjoyed reading your blog. I am a preemie mom and often times it is so hard because people think the journey of a preemie ends when they live the NICU. It is great to connect with people who understand.

  2. Cabbage Patch dolls were my only reference point for prematurity, too! I get mad that it's not a part of prenatal care. Like the NICU never even comes up!

  3. Stephanie, Your blog is so beautifully written and so true. Thank you. Maryellen (Alison's mom.)

  4. Thanks Maryellen! It means so much that you stopped by :)

  5. I guess I perpetuated that stereotype by photographing T in a flock of CPKs..............but it was too tempting not to!

  6. I'm glad you stopped by! It's been so helpful to connect with other preemie parents online.


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